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Bellwood-Antis Quarterback Club holds annual football banquet

The Bellwood-Antis Quarterback Club held their 28th Annual Football Banquet on Friday night to honor the players, coaches and cheerleaders from the 2003 football season.
Football in the northern part of Blair County has been an annual event that nearly everybody of every age looks forward to for the rest of the year. Fans even go to watch the preseason practices. Bellwood-Antis and sister community Tyrone are two school districts whose football programs transcend mere sport. On any given Friday evening, the entire community gathers up their families and make a festive event of attending the high school game. It is a time to get together with friends and loved ones that continues from year to year. Records are always important, but never all-consuming. Cheering and shouting for your team is something close to saluting the American flag or believing in God, however you envision him or her. On Friday night, the young people who provide so much entertainment for the rest of us were honored.
Master of Ceremonies, Craig Boslough welcomed the honored guests along with their families and faithful fans of the Bellwood-Antis community who filled the B-A Middle School gym to near capacity for the festivities. Following the invocation by David Taylor, Boslough introduced the guests and the ladies of the cafeteria served a stuffed chicken dinner with all the trimmings.
Cheerleader advisors Christine Beisweinger and Karen Thornhill introduced the junior high and senior high cheerleaders and presented them with gifts and awards.
Head junior high coach Charlie Burch gave a few special remarks about the junior high team. The ninth grade team powered their way to an 8-0 record, the junior high’s third undefeated record in four years, but the first of the three unbeaten squads without a tie to blemish their record. The 2003 edition of the Little Blue Devils recorded three shut outs and outscored their opponents 272-62 averaging 34 points per game, while giving up just an average of eight points per contest. “Each win was both decisive and dominant,” was the description used by coach Burch.
Assistant coaches Art Partner, Rick Scheier and coach Burch presented the Boyer Awards for the Outstanding Lineman, which went to Tyler Narehood, Outstanding defensive Player which was awarded to Boe Latchford and Outstanding Offensive Player, an award which was shared by Josh Kleinfelter and Devon Clapper.
Head varsity coach John Hayes then spoke about the varsity season. The 2003 football campaign began with several major concerns for the coaches, most notably the lack of numbers and the inexperience of those present. The schedule was to be a tough one, with “each opponent looking to Bellwood-Antis as the team on their schedule that they wanted to beat most, from archrival Tyrone right through the schedule to Curwensville. Each team looked at the Blue Devils, said Hayes as if they had a target on their backs.” The Bellwood-Antis varsity recorded a 5-5 season after beginning the season 1-2 and the junior varsity turned a 1-6 mark from last year around to post a 5-1 record in 2003.
Hayes acknowledged that at times, the Blue Devils had trouble moving the line of scrimmage and in some situations had a difficult time stopping some great runners, but “never was it because of lack of great heart or great effort and that there was never any thought of quit in any member of the team.” Hayes concluded with the hope that the seniors would use their experiences in Bellwood-Antis football as a stepping stone to their future and that the experiences learned on the practice field and gridiron provided better lessons than those things which come easily.
Coach Hayes and his assistants then presented the varsity awards.
The newer awards were presented first, leading to the Lombardi and Blanket Awards that have been presented the longest.
The Dr. Miller Rookie of the Year Award to the first-year player who has made the most impact and contribution went to Tony DelGrosso. The Lumax Most Improved Player, for a junior or senior who goes beyond the ordinary development process to improve as a player and judged by their performance the succeeding year was given to Derrick Hoffer. The Scholar/Athlete Award for the Blue Devil football player who has both excelled in the classroom and distinguished himself on the field was presented to John McFalls. The DelGrosso Awards for the outstanding offensive and defensive awards were presented to Derek Reimer-Outstanding Offensive Lineman, Ben Kleiner-Outstanding Defensive Lineman, Matt Sneath-Outstanding Defensive Back, and Shawn Weiand-Outstanding Offensive Back.
The Jerry Potts Memorial 110 Percent Award, presented for the 15th year for the individual, who inn his own way while receiving little or no publicity, worked hard to demonstrate his love for the game and for the good of the team was awarded to Brian Buechele.
The Lombardi Award, in its 27th year is named for coaching legend Vince Lombardi and is presented to the Bellwood-Antis High School football player, offensive or defensive, who singularly caps outstanding performance and ability with the one specific quality which personified coach Lombardi-discipline. The 2003 recipient was Matt Plummer.
The VFW Blanket Award, given by the Bellwood VFW Columbine Loucks Post 5201 has been awarded each year since 1948. Given to the outstanding Blue Devil Football Player at each year’s banquet, the prestigious Blanket for the 2003 football season was awarded to Dan Houser. Dan’s father, maternal grandfather and uncle have been previous winners of the VFW Blanket Award.